Reaching graduation day should be a moment of pride and accomplishment for high school seniors across the country. Tragically, too many high school students spend this special day in juvenile detention facilities or otherwise apart from the class with which they should have graduated. Too often, high school dropouts wind up behind bars later in life and become caught in a cycle of recidivism that might have been avoided if they had graduated from high school.
A 5% increase in male high school graduation rates is estimated to save Alabama $82 million in annual incarceration costs and crime-related expenditures. If that same 5% not only graduated but went on to college
at the same rate as typical male high school graduates, their average earnings would accrue an additional $43 million annually. If just one year’s high school dropouts could be converted to high school graduates, Alabama households would have an additional $6.7 billion in accumulated wealth over the lifetime of the students from the graduating class.
Businesses understand that safe and secure schools are critical to our quality of life and economic health.
In 2015, the Business Education Alliance released a report, Obstacle into Opportunities, how an Alabama high school graduation rate of 90 percent by the year 2020 is the economic equivalent of a mega-industrial project in higher wages and productivity every year.